The Infiltrator has problems digging deeper into its drug trade story.
The true story of how customs agent Robert Mazur brought down the Escobar drug cartel in the early 90's is at the center of The Infiltrator and should have made for one taut, involving thriller. It almost does, but its rather conventional script robs it of true tension and surprise. Character arcs are started and drift away by the 30-minute mark. Themes are set up and then never heard from again. And Mazur's undercover sting operation is so expertly executed at every turn that his safety never really seems to be in question.
Still, this movie is supremely well-acted, with Bryan Cranston adding edgy layers to Mazur that are not in the script. He's ably supported by Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo and Benjamin Bratt performing similar feats with their characters. The drug trade is a terrifying world and this examination of it should have had the audience on the edge of its seat from start to finish. It does occasionally, but with a more intoxicating script, it would have truly gotten under our skin.